The diversity of birds and fishes
One of a series of blog posts written during the Field Museum's 2010 Yaguas rapid inventory of Yaguas, Peru, and published by the New York Times.
"Confronted with so much diversity in such a small area, even a nonspecialist feels his brain start to whir with the challenge of such outrageous variety — the task of making some sense of these animals that live in a tributary of a tributary of a tributary of the Amazon. Today the solution is similes. One fish looks to me like a scorpion; another is plump and spotted black and white, like a dairy cow; another would look like an arrowhead, if arrowheads had long tails and googly eyes; another looks like it’s wearing tartan plaid. This one has the face of a puppy, but it also has a fringed underbelly and emits an electrical charge. The next one has got the eyes of a cat, the snout of a sea horse, a sucker for a mouth, a body covered with leathery, olive-colored plates like a caiman, fins that look like they’re made of porcupine quills, and a long filament emerging from the end of its tail and stretching half as long again as its body...."
Read the full post here.
Photo by Álvaro del Campo